June 5 , 2012
|Click on the above image for a high-resolution version. (Caution: It's a BIG file.)|
Well, spring is in full bloom and I've finally gotten around to updating the journal. (Sorry about that kids.)
It's really nice to finally have the garage/workshop built. Although the structure has been built and is functional, I have a lot of interior work to do on it as well as putting on the exterior cordwood veneer. I'd like to tell you that I plan to start on the cordwood veneer this year, but it's doubtful at the present time since I am focusing any of my spare time on finishing the upstairs of the house.
It was a project in itself moving everything out of the upstairs area and into the garage so that I could put a floor down on the second level. Egads! It's amazing how much "stuff" can collect over just a few years. In any event, the focus this year is to finish the upstairs.
Jo and I debated as to what type of flooring to install upstairs. Should we install oak? Maple? How about bamboo? Bamboo intrigued me due to its beautiful coloring and texture. It's also a renewable, green product being nothing more than compressed grass. Really compressed. It's quite hard and durable and has the advantage that when putting down the floor there are no warped pieces, ugly knots and other defects that can get in the way.
It was decided that bamboo was the way to go. Bamboo typically comes in 5/8-inch thick pieces and in panels that are roughly 38" x 4" and it comes in various stains. I went to our local Menards (home improvement chain) and spoke to their "flooring expert". At the time of purchase, Menards had all of their flooring on sale including special orders.
I explained to the "flooring expert" that I wanted a light-colored bamboo floor. I inquired about two different variations: Natural and Caramelized. Both of their displays showed that they were light in color. The natural produce was a special order while the caramelized. was in stock. I was told that the caramelized. would be just as light as the natural.
I bought close to 40 boxes of the caramelized. bamboo. I packed all the boxes in the truck, drove home, unloaded all said 40 boxes. I then decided to open up one of the boxes and to my dismay, they were mostly dark pieces!
Calling the store back I was re-assured that they would all turn light with age. Not trusting their answer, I called the manufacturer and found out that their caramelized. product may lighten a bit with age, but would never be as light in color as I hoped.
I called back Menards and asked them to help me pack up the boxes and return them. The La Crosse, WI store manager stated that they would not do that. I would have to cart them all back myself.
|Flooring is complete! A nice, light color as planned.|
To make a long story short, Menards may have great prices when stuff goes on sale, but don't take their word on their products. Do your research ahead of time and unless you know the person that works there, I wouldn't trust what they say. Yes, I'm sure there are plenty of Menards associates who know their product, but when someone tells you something with confidence and then is totally wrong, you lose faith rather quickly.
And...don't even bother attempting to call their headquarters to complain. They will not take your phone call. All complaints have to be submitted in writing. If that doesn't tell you something about the philosophy of a company, I'm not sure what does.
It also ends up that "caramelized." means that the bamboo goes through a pressure-cooker treatment that actually weakens the hardness of the panels in order to give the floor a variated-color look. I returned the 40 boxes and special-ordered the natural panels.
Buyer Beware! Next time I will do my homework first.
-- Alan Stankevitz
|The garage/workshop complete with carriage-look garage doors.|